The Unauthorized Investigator's Guide to
The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints

Lesson 3

Baptism, Our First Covenant

The Missionaries Will Teach...

After we have faith in Jesus Christ and repent of our sins we are prepared for the ordinances of baptism and confirmation.  Ordinances are sacred ceremonies that show that we have entered into a covenant with God.

God always requires us to enter into covenants.  Covenants are binding and solemn agreements between God and his children.  In these covenants we promise to obey God and he promises to bless us.  God sets the terms of the covenants and we decide whether we will accept the covenants or reject them.  If we keep our covenants we will have blessings in life and exaltation in the next life.

Covenants obligate us to keep the commitments we made to God.  In order to do this, we must give up things that God doesn't want us to do.  For example, we have to give up shopping and recreation on Sunday so that we can obey the commandment of keeping the Sabbath day holy.  We should want to be worthy to make these commitments and then keep them.  Covenants remind us to repent throughout our lives.  When we keep the commandments and serve other people, our sins are forgiven.

Covenants are typically made through ordinances such as baptism.  These ordinances are administered by priesthood authority.  Through the ordinance of baptism, for example, we commit to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, always remember him, and obey his commandments.  To the extent that we keep our part of the commitment, God promises to give us the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and to forgive us of our sins.  Through this process we can be born again.

These sacred ordinances allow us to learn about and experience the power of God.  Jesus taught that we must be baptized by immersion in order to be forgiven of our sins.  Baptism is essential for salvation; nobody can enter the kingdom of God without being baptized.  Christ set the example for us.

Baptism by immersion is a symbol of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  Likewise, it represents the end of our old life and the beginning of a new life as a disciple of Christ.  Through baptism, we begin the process of being reborn and becoming the spiritual children of Jesus Christ.

In order to become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we must be baptized.  Baptism is one of God's laws and it needs to be done by somebody with his authority.  For a baptism to be legitimate, it must be approved by somebody sufficient high in the hierarchy of God's church, such as a bishop or mission president.

Little children don't need to be baptized because they receive redemption solely through the mercy of Jesus Christ.  They have no need of baptism until they turn eight years old.

After we are baptized, we demonstrate our faith by obeying God's commandments.  Furthermore, we renew the baptismal covenants by partaking of the sacrament.  It is a commandment to partake of the sacrament weekly.  Doing this helps us remain worthy to always have God's spirit with us by serving as a frequent reminder of the commitments we have made.  Jesus introduced the ordinance of the sacrament at the last supper before he died, and he restored it through the prophet Joseph Smith.  Christ commanded priesthood holders to administer the sacrament in remembrance of the body and blood of Jesus which he shed for us.  We must be worthy to partake of the sacrament.  When we do this, we promise to always remember how Jesus shed us blood for us, we renew our promises, and we receive the promise that the spirit will always be with us.

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